[After hearing the angel announce the birth of Christ, the shepherds] hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.1
Everyone who heard the shepherds’ account was amazed—the tale of angels on a hillside, singing and directing them to the newborn baby of a visiting couple from Nazareth. “You’ll find them lodging in a stable.”
Meanwhile, Mary was quietly resting, contemplating the peaceful face of baby Jesus. She was thinking back over all the events of the last nine months. She treasured each recollection and pondered them in her heart. The beautiful synchronization, the details—so many scenes converging to the climax, the singular event—the arrival of the Messiah, the Savior—now lying in a manger. She remembered the angelic visit, Joseph’s dream, her cousin Elizabeth’s reaction, the hard trip to Bethlehem in her last moments of pregnancy. Hadn’t it seemed like things were going awry when they couldn’t find a place to stay and she was, oh, so tired? In the most unusual of circumstances, the infant was born. Perhaps she wondered if God remembered His promises concerning this baby.
But when the shepherds brought their tale of a heavenly choir and divine instructions, she knew that God did remember and that heaven was rejoicing! Once again, Mary treasures the event and ponders it over and over.
What amazes me about the beautiful story of the First Christmas? What do I treasure when I ponder over this timeless account of the birth of my Savior? Like Mary, I think of how God’s Spirit was working out every detail, from the transcendent to the most insignificant—people, places, timings. This is God’s delight; He loves to work on these multiple levels.
I see how my life has intertwined with so many precious people, and how events in our separate existences unfolded to meet in grand moments of connection. I am amazed when I see the threads woven into the tapestry of my history, and I treasure each remembrance and often ponder them in my heart.
- Luke 2:16–19 NIV, emphasis added↑